Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has taken his staff to be trained by leaders in the field of tackling bullying and hate crime towards disabled people. The MP and his staff are engaging with ‘I Am Me Scotland’ who are experts in changing attitudes and behaviours so that disabled and vulnerable people in Scotland feel safe in their communities.
The leading charity is based in Paisley and tours Scotland to deliver its message and training to schools, offices, and other organisations. It recently won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Disability Hate Crime is one of the most under reported crimes in the UK, with an estimated 97% going unreported. There are 1 million people in Scotland registered as disabled or with a long term illness. Many incidents go unreported.
This is for many reasons, such as fear of repercussion, unsure how to report incidents, worried about not being taken seriously and sadly many disabled people have come to accept abuse and harassment as part of daily life.
During the training, Newlands commented:
“The training we did today was enlightening and you can clearly see the expertise that I Am Me have at their disposal. The stories we heard of bullying against those with disabilities chilled me to my bones; but it proved just how important the work that I Am Me do is.
“I would like to encourage anyone with a disability or who may be at risk to pick up a Keep Safe card, which they can keep on themselves at all times. These cards allow people to go into ‘Keep Safe Places’ to sit down, seek aid, or call the police. It has information like what people need to know about your health how you communicate, and who to get in contact with if you need assistance.
“I am also proud that my office has just became one of Renfrew’s Keep Safe Places, so if you need help, you can come in and we’ll do our best to keep you safe.”